More than 6,500 individuals aged 65 and older were killed in automobile accidents in 2020. That’s 17% of all traffic fatalities.
Making decisions about whether an adult can drive shouldn’t be based on age alone. But it’s important to remember that changes in vision, physical fitness, and reflexes can become safety concerns. Being aware of age-related challenges means you can adjust your driving habits to stay a safe driver or choose other ways to get around.
Safe Driving Considerations
Medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, cataracts, sleep apnea, diabetes, and more can impact your ability to drive safely. If you have trouble turning your head, moving the steering wheel quickly, or braking unexpectedly, you may benefit from physical therapy or adaptive technology in your vehicle if you’re not ready to stop driving.
If you take medications, be sure to read the labels carefully. Make a list of all medications you take and speak with your health care provider or pharmacist about how they might affect your driving. If you feel drowsy or lightheaded, don’t get behind the wheel.
Get your eyes checked at least once a year, as your eyesight can change as you get older. If you wear glasses or contacts, make sure your prescription is up to date. Many older adults find it difficult to drive at night because it’s harder to see things clearly.
Have your hearing checked at least every three years after age 50. Hearing loss can make it harder for you to be aware of sirens, horns, or even potential mechanical issues with your vehicle.
If you struggle with driving at night, during bad weather, or on the busy highway, avoid driving in those circumstances.
Signs of Unsafe Driving
If you have health issues that could impact your ability to drive or anxiety about driving, it might be time to start asking for rides or taking public transportation instead. Multiple vehicle crashes or dents in your vehicle can also be a sign, as can multiple traffic tickets or warnings. If your friends or neighbors are making comments about your driving, listen to them. Your doctor may advise you to change your driving habits or stop driving altogether.
Worried about how you’ll get around? Contact your local Area Agency on Aging to find services. Call 1-800-677-1116 or go to https://eldercare.acl.gov to find your nearest agency.
If you or a loved one has been injured, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.